Phelps concedes; Sharma wins Wentworth
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Phelps concedes; Sharma wins Wentworth

THE federal seat of Wentworth is back in Liberal hands after Independent MP Kerryn Phelps conceded defeat to Dave Sharma on Monday.

Kerryn Phelps (left) and Dave Sharma in Sydney on Monday.
Kerryn Phelps (left) and Dave Sharma in Sydney on Monday.

THE federal seat of Wentworth is back in Liberal hands after Independent MP Kerryn Phelps conceded defeat to Dave Sharma on Monday.

Addressing the media in Sydney, Sharma said he was “honoured and humbled” to have won the seat after a “long, continuous campaign”.

He thanked Phelps “for fighting a tough election campaign”.

“These campaigns are tough on families. I want to acknowledge the contribution Kerryn Phelps has made during her time representing the people of Wentworth,” Sharma said.

Asked if he had his eye on a ministerial role, Sharma replied, “I will concentrate my time over the next weeks, months and years on being a good local representative.”

He also acknowledged his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, noting that he and his wife Lucy had been “great supporters and great friends through this period”.

On Monday afternoon, nearly 77 per cent of the ballots had been counted and Sharma led by more than 2500 votes.

It’s the second time the former Australian ambassador to Israel has contested the seat, having lost last year’s Wentworth by-election to Jewish MP Phelps.

Addressing reporters on Monday morning, Phelps congratulated Sharma and said it had been “an enormous privilege” to serve.

“This election went right down to the wire. It’s now clear I’m not going to be in a winning position once the postal votes have concluded,” Phelps said.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison looked poised to govern in majority, with the Coalition expected to secure 77 seats following Saturday night’s “miracle” election.

Morrison has been congratulated by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and communal leaders.

“I know that under your leadership the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger,” Netanyahu said.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) thanked Morrison and his government for the “consistent support they have given to the Australian Jewish community and to Israel”. 

“We look forward to working with the new government and parliament on a range of issues that are critical for our community,” the ECAJ said.

Full coverage in this week’s AJN.

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